The Daily Examen prayer is a way of praying through our daily experiences in order to gain insights into our interior life, grow in holiness and discern how God may be calling us to follow him.
The practice of a daily examination of one’s life goes back to the early Church. In the 4th century St John Chrysostom wrote:
“make your conscience appear in judgement; demand of it an account, and having thoroughly probed and dissected whatever evil purposes you formed during the day, repent for them.”
modern usage of the Daily Examen largely comes from the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola, who was the founder of the Jesuits. St Ignatius lived in the 16th century and had a profound conversion experience while recovering from being struck in the leg by a cannon ball during the Siege of Pamplona. St Ignatius later wrote his ‘spiritual exercises’ and founded the Jesuit order. The spiritual exercises include instructions for a daily examination, especially as a means to overcome a particular sin.
In praying the Examen we can bring God’s presence into every moment of our daily lives. We have an opportunity to become more thankful, to work on correcting our faults, and to prepare ourselves for the future. The Examen can be prayed once or twice daily and is usually prayed around midday or in the evening. There are many different specific instructions for praying the Examen. Below is a form of the Examen you can use.